The Council of Trent - 1545-1563 A.D.

Part 1 of 3


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PAUL, bishop, servant of the servants of God, for the future memory hereof.

At the beginning of this our pontificate,--which, not for any merits of our own, but of its own great goodness, the providence of Almighty God hath committed unto us,--already perceiving unto what troubled times, and unto how many embarrassments in almost all our affairs, our pastoral solicitude and watchfulness were called; we would fain indeed have remedied the evils wherewith the Christian commonweal had been long afflicted, and well-nigh overwhelmed; but we too, as men compassed with infirmity, felt our strength unequal to take upon us so heavy a burthen. For, whereas we saw that peace was needful to free and preserve the commonweal from the many impending dangers, we found all replete with enmities and dissensions; and, above all, the (two) princes, to whom God has entrusted well-nigh the whole direction of events, at enmity with each other. Whereas we deemed it necessary that there should be one fold and one shepherd, for the Lord's flock in order to [Page 2] maintain the Christian religion in its integrity, and to confirm within us the hope of heavenly things; the unity of the Christian name was rent and well-nigh torn asunder by schisms, dissensions, heresies. Whereas we could have wished to see the commonwealth safe and guarded against the arms and insidious designs of the Infidels, yet, through our transgressions and the guilt of us all,--the wrath of God assuredly hanging over our sins,--Rhodes had been lost; Hungary ravaged; war both by land and sea had been contemplated and planned against Italy, Austria, and Illyria; whilst our impious and ruthless enemy the Turk was never at rest, and looked upon our mutual enmities and dissensions as his fitting opportunity for carrying out his designs with success. Wherefore, having been, as we have said, called upon to guide and govern the bark of Peter, in so great a tempest, and in the midst of so violent an agitation of the waves of heresies, dissensions, and wars; and, not relying sufficiently on our own strength, we, first of all, cast our cares upon the Lord, that He might sustain us, and furnish our soul with firmness and strength, our understanding with prudence and wisdom. Then, recalling to mind that our predecessors, men endowed with admirable wisdom and sanctity, had often, in the extremest perils of the Christian commonweal, had recourse to ecumenical councils and general assemblies of bishops, as the best and most opportune remedy, we also fixed our mind on holding a general council; and having consulted the opinions of those princes whose consent seemed to us to be specially useful and opportune for this our project; when we found them, at that time, not averse from so holy a work, we, as our letters and records attest, indicted an ecumenical council, and a general assembly of those bishops and other Fathers whose duty it is to assist thereat, to be opened at the city of Mantua, on the tenth of the calends of June, in the year 1537 of our Lord's Incarnation, and the third of our pontificate; having an almost assured hope that, when assembled there in the name of the Lord, He, as He promised, would be in the midst of us, and, in His goodness and mercy, easily dispel, by the breath of His [Page 3] mouth, all the storms and dangers of the times. But,--as the enemy of mankind ever sets his snares against holy enterprises, --at the very outset, contrary to all our hopes and expectations, the city of Mantua was refused us, unless we would submit to certain conditions,--as described in other letters of ours,--which conditions were utterly alien to the institutes of our predecessors, to the state of the times, to our own dignity and liberty, that of this holy see, and of the ecclesiastical character. We were, therefore, necessitated to find another place, and to make choice of some other city ; andwhereas one fit and suitable did not immediately present itself, we were obliged to prorogue the celebration of the council unto the ensuing calends of November. Meanwhile the Turk, our cruel and perpetual enemy, attacked Italy with a vast fleet; took, sacked, ravaged several cities of Apulia, and carried off numbers into captivity; whilst we, in the midst of the greatest alarm, and the general danger, were engaged in fortifying our shores, and in furnishing assistance to the neighbouring states. But not therefore did we meanwhile cease to consult with the Christian princes, and to exhort them to inform us, what, in their opinion, would be a suitable place wherein to hold the council: and whereas their opinions were various and wavering, and there seemed to be needless delay, we, with the best intentions, and, as we also think, with the most judicious prudence, fixed on Vicenza, a wealthy city granted to us by the Venetians, and which, by their valour, authority, and power, offered in a special manner both unobstructed access, and a safe and free place of residence for all. But, as too much of the time appointed had already passed away; and it was necessary to signify to all the fresh city that had been chosen; and, whereas the approaching calends of November precluded our having the opportunity of making the announcement of this change public, and winter was now near; we were again constrained to defer, by another prorogation, the time for opening the Council, to the next ensuing Spring, that is, to the next calends of May. This having been firmly resolved upon and decreed; considering,--whilst preparing ourselves, and [Page 4] arranging all other matters for conducting and celebrating that assembly in a proper manner under the divine assistance,--that it was a point of great importance, both as regards the celebration of the Council, and the general weal of Christendom, that the Christian princes should be united together in peace and concord; We ceased not to implore and conjure our most beloved sons in Christ, Charles, ever August, the emperor of the Romans, and Francis, the most Christian king, the two main supports and stays of the Christian name, to meet together for a conference between them and us; and, with both of them, by letters, Nuncios, and our Legates a latere selected from amongst our venerable brethren, did we very often strive to move them to lay aside their jealousies and animosities; to unite in strict alliance and holy friendship; and to succour the tottering cause of Christendom: for as it was to preserve this especially, that God had bestowed on them their power, if they neglected to do this, and directed not all their counsels to the common weal of Christians, a bitter and severe account would they have to render unto Him. They, yielding at last to our prayers, repaired to Nice; whither we also, for the cause of God and to bring about peace, undertook a long journey, though sorely unsuited to our advanced age. Meanwhile, as the time fixed for the Council,--the calends to wit of May,--drew nigh, we did not neglect to send to Vicenza three Legates a latere,--men of the greatest virtue and authority, chosen from the number of our own brethren, the cardinals of the holy Roman Church,--to open the Council; to receive the prelates as they arrived from various parts; and to transact and attend to such matters as they should deem necessary, until we, on our return from our journey and message of peace, should be able ourselves to direct everything with greater precision. We, in the mean time, applied ourselves to that holy and most necessary work, the negotiation of peace; and this with all the zeal, the affection, and the earnestness of our soul. God is our witness, on whose clemency we relied, when we exposed ourselves to the dangers of that journey at the peril of our life: our conscience is our witness, which herein, at least, cannot reproach us with having either neglected, or not sought for, an opportunity of effecting a reconciliation: the [Page 5] princes themselves are our witnesses, whom we so often and so earnestly conjured by our Nuncios, letters, legates, admonitions, exhortations, and by all kinds of entreaties, to lay aside their jealousies, to unite in alliance, and with combined zeal and forces to succour the Christian commonweal, which was now reduced to the greatest and most urgent danger. And witnesses too are those watchings and cares, those labours of our soul both by day and night, and those grievous solicitudes, which we have already endured to such an extent in this business and cause; and yet our councils and acts have not as yet brought about the wished-for result. For so hath it seemed good to the Lord our God, who, however, we still hope will cast a more favourable eye on our wishes. For ourselves, we, as far as in us lay, have not, indeed, herein omitted anything that was due from our pastoral office. And if there be any who interpret in any other sense our endeavours after peace, we are indeed grieved; but, in our grief, we return thanks to that Almighty God, who, as a pattern and a lesson of patience unto us, willed that His own apostles should be accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus who is our peace. However, in that our meeting and conference at Nice, though, by reason of our sins, a true and lasting peace could not be concluded between the two princes, yet was a truce for ten years agreed upon; under favour of which having our hopes, that both the sacred council might be celebrated more commodiously, and further that peace might be perfectly established by the authority of the council, we were urgent with those princes to come themselves to the council, to bring with them those of their prelates who accompanied them, and to summon the absent. They having excused themselves upon both these points,--for that it was at that time, necessary for them to return to their kingdoms, and that the prelates whom they had with them, being wearied and exhausted by the journey and its expenses, must needs refresh and recruit themselves,--exhorted us to decree yet another prorogation of the time for opening the council. And whereas we had some difficulty to yield herein, in the interim we received letters from our legates [Page 6] at Vicenza, announcing that, although the day for opening the council had arrived, nay had long since passed by, barely one or two prelates had repaired to Vicenza from any of the foreign nations. Upon receiving this information, seeing that the council could not, under any circumstances, be held at that time, we accorded to the said princes, that the time for celebrating the council should be deferred till next holy Easter, the feast of the Resurrection of the Lord. Of which our ordinance and prorogation, the decretal letters were given and published at Genoa, in the year of the Incarnation of our Lord, MDXXXVIII, on the fourth of the calends of July. And this delay we granted the more readily, because each of the princes promised us to send an ambassador to us at Rome; in order that those things which were necessary for the perfect re-establishment of peace,--all of which could not, on account of the shortness of the time, be completed at Nice,--might be treated of and negotiated more conveniently at Rome in our presence. And for this reason also, they both begged of us, that the negotiation of peace might precede the celebration of the council; for that, peace once established, the council itself would then be much more useful and salutary to the Christian commonweal. It was, indeed, this hope of peace, thus held out to us, that ever moved us to assent to the wishes of those princes; a hope which was greatly increased by the kindly and friendly interview between those two princes after our departure from Nice; the news of which was to us a source of very great joy, and so confirmed us in our good hope, that we believed that God, at length, had hearkened to our prayers, and had graciously received our earnest wishes for peace. The conclusion, then, of this peace was both desired and urged; and as it was the opinion not only of the two princes aforenamed, but also of our most dear son in Christ, Ferdinand, King of the Romans, that the business of the council ought not to be entered upon until after peace had been established; whilst all the parties urged upon us, by letters and their ambassadors, again to appoint a further prorogation of the time; and the most serene emperor was especially urgent, representing that he had promised those who dissent from Catholic unity, that he would interpose his mediation with us, to the end that some plan of [Page 7] concord might be devised, which could not be accomplished satisfactorily before his return to Germany: impelled throughout by the same desire of peace, and by the wishes of so mighty princes, and, above all, seeing that not even on the said feast of the Resurrection had any other prelates assembled at Vicenza, we, now avoiding the word prorogation, so often repeated in vain, chose rather to suspend the celebration of the general council during our own good pleasure, and that of the Apostolic See. We accordingly did so, and despatched our letters touching such suspension to each of the above-named princes, on the tenth day of June, MDXXXIX, as from the tenor thereof may be clearly seen. This necessary suspension, then, having been made by us, whilst we were looking forward to that more suitable time, and to that conclusion of peace which was later to bring both dignity and numbers to the council, and more immediate safety to the Christian commonweal; the affairs of Christendom meanwhile fell day by day into a worse state. The Hungarians, upon the death of their king, had invited the Turk; King Ferdinand had declared war against them; a part of Belgium had been incited to revolt against the most serene emperor, who, to crush that rebellion, traversed France on the most friendly and harmonious terms with the most Christian king, and with great show of mutual good will towards each other; and, having reached Belgium, thence passed into Germany, where he commenced holding diets of the princes and cities of Germany, with the view of treating of that concord of which he had spoken to us. But as there was now no longer scarcely any hope of peace, and the scheme of procuring and treating of a re-union in those diets seemed only adapted to excite greater discord, we were led to revert to our former remedy, a general council; and, by our legates, cardinals of the holy Roman Church, we proposed this to the emperor himself; and this we did especially and finally in the diet of Ratisbon, at which our beloved son, Cardinal Gaspar Contarini, of the title of St. Praxedes, acted as our legate with very great learning and integrity. For, whereas what we had previously feared now come to pass,--that by the advice of that diet we were called upon to declare that certain of the articles, maintained by the dissenters from the Church, were to be tolerated until they should be examined and decided upon [Page 8] by an ecumenical council; and whereas neither Christian and Catholic truth, nor our own dignity and that of the Apostolic See, would suffer us to yield this,---we chose rather to command that a proposal should be openly made, that a council should be held as soon as possible. Nor, indeed, had we ever any other sentiment or wish, but that an ecumenical and general council should be convened on the very first opportunity. For we hoped that both peace might thereby be restored to the Christian people, and to the Christian religion its integrity; yet were we wishful to hold that council with the good wishes and favour of the Christian princes. And whilst looking forward to those good wishes, whilst watching for that hidden time, for the time of thy good pleasure, 0 God, we were at last forced to the conclusion, that every time is well pleasing unto God wherein deliberations are entered upon touching holy things, and such as relate to Christian piety. Wherefore, upon beholding with the bitterest grief of soul, that the affairs of Christendom were daily hurrying on to a worse state; Hungary overwhelmed by the Turk; Germany endangered; all the other states oppressed with terror and affliction; we resolved to wait no longer for the consent of any prince, but to look solely to the will of God, and the good of the Christian commonweal. Accordingly, as we no longer had the city of Vicenza, and were desirous, in our choice of a fresh place for holding the council, to have regard both to the common welfare of Christians, and also to the troubles of the German nation; and seeing, upon several places being proposed, that they (the Germans) wished for the city of Trent, we,---though of opinion that every thing might be transacted more commodiously in Cisalpine Italy,---nevertheless yielded up our will, with paternal charity, to their demands. Accordingly, we have chosen the city of Trent as that wherein an ecumenical council is to be held on the ensuing calends of November: fixing upon that place as a convenient one whereat the bishops and prelates can assemble very easily indeed from Germany, and from the other nations bordering on Germany, and without difficulty from France, Spain, and the other remoter provinces. And in fixing [Page 9] the day for the council, we have had regard that there should be time both for publishing this our decree throughout the Christian nations, and for allowing all prelates an opportunity of repairing to Trent. Our motive for not prescribing that a whole year should expire before changing the place of the council,--as by certain constitutions has been aforetime regulated,---was this, that we were unwilling that our hope should be any longer delayed of applying some remedy to the Christian commonwealth, suffering as it is under so many disasters and calamities. And yet we observe the times; we acknowledge the difficulties. We know that what may be looked for from our councils is a matter of uncertainty. But, seeing that it is written, commit thy way to the Lord, and trust in him, and he will do it, we have resolved rather to trust in the clemency and mercy of God, than to distrust our own weakness. For, upon engaging in good works, it often happens, that what human councils fail in, the divine power accomplishes. Wherefore, relying and resting on the authority of that Almighty God, Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost, and on the authority of His blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, (an authority) which we also exercise on earth; with the advice also and assent of our venerable brethren, the cardinals of the holy Roman Church; after having removed and annulled, as by these presents we do remove and annul, the suspension aforenamed, we indict, announce, convoke, appoint, and decree a sacred, ecumenical and general council,--to be opened on the ensuing calends of November of the present year, MDXLII, from the Incarnation of the Lord,--in the city of Trent, a place commodious, free, and convenient for all nations; and to be there prosecuted, concluded, and completed, with God's help, to His glory and praise, and the welfare of the whole Christian people; requiring, exhorting, admonishing all, of every country, as well our venerable brethren the patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, and our beloved sons the abbots, as also all others soever, unto whom, by right or privilege, the power has been granted of sitting in general councils, and of delivering their sentiments therein; enjoining moreover, and strictly command- [Page 10] ing them, by virtue of the oath which they have taken to us and to this holy See, and in virtue of holy obedience, and under the other pains, which, by law or custom, are usually passed and proposed in the celebration of councils, against those who do not attend, that they are, undoubtedly to repair to and to be present themselves in person at this sacred council--unless they shall happen to be hindered by some just impediment, of which, however, they shall be obliged to furnish proof--or at all events by their own lawful deputies and proctors. And we also beseech the aforenamed emperor, and the most Christian king, as also the other kings, dukes, and princes, whose presence, now if ever, would be of especial advantage to the most holy faith of Christ, and of all Christians; conjuring them by the bowels of the mercy of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ,--the truth of whose faith, and whose religion are now so sorely assailed both from within and without,--that, if they would have the Christian commonweal safe, if they feel themselves bound and obliged, by the Lord's great benefits towards them, they abandon not His own cause and interests; and come themselves to the celebration of the sacred council, where their piety and virtue would be greatly conducive to the common good, to their own welfare, and that of others, both in time and eternity. But if, which we hope may not be the case, they shall be unable to come in person, let them at least send, with an authoritative commission, as their ambassadors, men of weight, who may each in the council represent the person of his prince with prudence and dignity. But above all, let this--which is a thing very easy on their parts--be their care, that, from their respective kingdoms and provinces, the bishops and prelates set forth without tergiversation and delay; a request which God Himself, and we, have a right to obtain from the prelates and princes of Germany in a special manner; for as it is principally on their account, and at their instance, that the council has been indicted and convoked, and in the very city which they desired, let them not think it burthensome to celebrate and adorn it with the presence of their whole body. That [Page 11] thus,--with God going before us in our deliberations, and holding before our minds the light of His own wisdom and truth,--we may, in the said sacred ecumenical council, in a better and more com-modious manner, treat of, and, with the charity of all conspiring to one end, deliberate and discuss, execute and bring to the desired issue, speedily and happily, whatsoever appertains to the integrity and truth of the Christian religion; the restoration of good and the correction of evil manners; the peace, unity, and concord both of Christian princes and peoples; and whatsoever is needful for repelling those assaults of barbarians and infidels, with which they seek the overthrow of all Christendom. And that this our letter, and the contents thereof, may come to the knowledge of all whom it concerns, and that no one may plead as an excuse ignorance thereof, especially also as there may not perhaps be free access to all, unto whom our letter ought to be individually communicated; we will and ordain, that in the Vatican Basilica of the prince of the apostles, and in the Lateran Church, at the time when the multitude of the people is wont to assemble there to hear the divine service, it be publicly read in a loud voice by officers of our court, or by certain public notaries; and, after having been read, be affixed to the doors of the said churches, also to the gates of the apostolic Chancery, and to the usual place in the Campo di Fiore, where it shall for some time hang exposed to be read and seen by all; and, when removed thence, copies thereof shall still remain affixed in the same places. For we will that, by being thus read, published, and affixed, the letter aforesaid shall oblige and bind, after the interval of two months from the day of being published and affixed, all and each of those whom it includes, even as if it had been communicated and read to them in person. And we ordain and decree, that an unhesitating and undoubting faith be given to copies thereof written, or subscribed, by the hand of a public notary, and guaranteed by the seal of some ecclesiastic constituted in authority. Wherefore, let no one infringe this our letter of indiction, announcement, convocation, statute, decree, mandate, precept, and prayer, or [Page 12] with rash daring go contrary thereunto. But if any one shall presume to attempt this, let him know that he will incur the indignation of Almighty God, and of His blessed apostles Peter and Paul. Given at Rome, at Saint Peter's, in the year MDXLII of the Lord's Incarnation, on the eleventh of the calends of June, in the eighth year of our pontificate.


Jer. Dand.

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Celebrated under the sovereign Pontiff, Paul III, on the thirteenth day of the month of December, in the year of the Lord, 1545.


Doth it please you,--unto the praise and glory of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost ; for the increase and exaltation of the Christian faith and religion; for the extirpation of heresies; for the peace and union of the Church; for the reformation of the Clergy and Christian people; for the depression and extinction of the enemies of the Christian name,--to decree and declare that the sacred and general council of Trent do begin, and hath begun?

They answered: It pleaseth us.


And whereas the solemnity of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ is near, and other festivals of the closing and opening year follow thereupon, doth it please you, that the first ensuing session be held on the Thursday after the Epiphany, which will be the seventh of the month of January, in the year of the Lord MDXLVI?

They answered: It pleaseth us.

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Celebrated on the seventh day of the month of January,1546.


The sacred and holy Synod of Trent--lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same three legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein--recognising, with the blessed apostle James, that Every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of lights, who, to those who ask of him wisdom, giveth to all abundantly, and upbraideth them not; and knowing withal that The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, hath ordained and decreed, that all and each of the faithful of Christ, assembled in the city of Trent, be exhorted, as they are hereby exhorted, to amend themselves of their evils and sins heretofore committed, and to walk henceforth in the fear of the Lord; not to fulfil the lusts of the flesh; to be instant in prayer; to confess more frequently; to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist; to visit churches; to fulfil, in fine, as far as each one shall be able, the commandments of the Lord; and, furthermore, to pray daily in private for peace between Christian princes, and for the unity of the Church: and as regards the bishops, and all others soever constituted in the priestly order, who are celebrating together an ecumenical council in this city, that they give heed to apply themselves assiduously to the praises [Page 14] of God; to offer up victims, praises, and prayers; to celebrate the sacrifice of the mass on each Sunday at least, the day whereon God made the light, rose again from the dead, and poured forth the Holy Ghost upon the disciples; making, as the same Holy Ghost enjoins by the apostle, supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgiving, for our most holy lord the Pope, for the emperor, for kings, and others who are placed in high stations, and for all men, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, may enjoy peace, and see an increase of faith. Furthermore, it exhorts that they fast at least on every Friday, in memory of the passion of the Lord, and give alms to the poor: further, on every Thursday there shall be celebrated, in the cathedral church, the mass of the Holy Ghost, with the litanies and other prayers appointed for this end; and on the same day there shall be said, in the other churches, at least the litanies and prayers; and during the time that the sacred services are being performed, let there be no talking or conversing together, but with mouth and mind association with the celebrant. And forasmuch as It behoveth bishops to be blameless, sober, chaste, ruling well their own household, (the Council) exhorts also that, above all, each observe sobriety at table, and moderation in diet; further, that, whereas idle conversations are often wont to arise there, the reading of the divine Scriptures be introduced, even at the tables of bishops; and let each teach and charge his servants not to be quarrelsome, given to wine, immodest, covetous, proud, blasphemous, and lovers of pleasures; in fine, let them shun vice and follow after virtue, and in dress, demeanour, and in all their actions show forth modesty, as becomes the servants of the servants of God.

Moreover, whereas it is the chief care, solicitude, and intention of this sacred and holy council, that, the darkness of heresies, which during so many years has covered the earth, being dispelled, the light, brightness, and purity of Catholic truth may, by the assistance of Jesus Christ, who is the true light, shine forth; and that those things which need reformation may be reformed; the said Synod exhorts all Catholics here assembled, [Page 15] and to be assembled, and especially those skilled in sacred letters, that by sedulous meditation they ponder diligently within themselves, by what ways and means the intention of the Synod may be best carried out and obtain the desired effect; that, in the most prompt and prudent manner, the things to be condemned, may be condemned; and those to be approved of be approved; that so, throughout the whole world, all may, with one mouth, and with the same confession of faith, glorify God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And in delivering their sentiments, when the priests of the Lord are sitting together in the place of benediction, no one--agreeably to the statute of the council of Toledo--ought either to be boisterous by immoderate outcries, or to cause disturbance by tumult; none to be contentious with false, vain, or obstinate disputation; but let whatsoever is said be so tempered by the mildest utterance of the words spoken, that neither the hearers may be offended, nor the rectitude of a correct judgment be warped by the mind being troubled.

Furthermore, this sacred Synod has ordained and decreed, that if it should chance to happen that any do not sit in their due places, and (thus) deliver their sentiments, even under the word Placet, (It pleaseth us,) are present at the Congregations, and take part in any other act whatsoever during the council, none shall thereby be prejudiced, none acquire a new right.


After this, the next Session was indicted for Thursday, the fourth of the ensuing February.

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Celebrated on the fourth day of the month of February, in the year 1546.


In the Name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost.

This sacred and holy, ecumenical, and general Synod of [Page 16] Trent,--lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same three legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein,--considering the magnitude of the matters to be treated of, especially of those comprised under the two heads, of the extirpating of heresies, and the reforming of manners, for the sake of which chiefly It is assembled, and recognizing with the apostles, that Its wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the spirits of wickedness in the high places, exhorts, with the same apostle, all and each above all things, to be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power, in all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith they may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one, and to take the helmet of salvation, with the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. Wherefore, that this its pious solicitude may begin and proceed by the grace of God, It ordains and decrees that, before all other things, a confession of faith is to be set forth; following herein the examples of the Fathers, who have been wont, in the most sacred coucils, at the beginning of the Actions thereof, to oppose this shield against heresies; and with this alone, at times, have they drawn the unbelieving to the faith, overthrown heretics, and confirmed the faithful. For which cause, this council has thought good, that the Symbol of faith which the holy Roman Church makes use of,--as being that principle wherein all who profess the faith of Christ necessarily agree, and that firm and alone foundation against which the gates of hell shall never prevail,--be expressed in the very same words in which it is read in all the churches. Which Symbol is as follows: I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages; God of God, light of light, true God of true God; begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things were made: who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from the heavens, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of [Page 17] the Virgin Mary, and was made man: crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, he suffered and was buried; and he rose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures; and he ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father ; and again he will come with glory to judge the living and the dead; of whose kingdom there shall be no end: and in the Holy Ghost the Lord, and the giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is adored and glorified; who spoke by the prophets and one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.


The same sacred and holy, ecumenical, and general Synod of Trent,--lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same three legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein, -- understanding that many prelates in divers places are girt for their journey, and that some also are on their way hither; and considering that all that may be decreed by the said sacred Synod may seem to be in so much the greater estimation and honour with all men, as it shall have been sanctioned and confirmed by a more numerous and fuller council and attendance of Fathers, has resolved and decreed, that the next Session after the present be celebrated on the Thursday after Laetare Sunday next; but that, in the interim, the discussion and examination of those things which it shall seem fit to the said Synod to discuss and examine be not deferred.

[Page 17]


Celebrated on the eighth day of the month of April, in the year MDXLVI.


The sacred and holy, ecumenical, and general Synod of Trent,--lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the Same three legates of the Apostolic Sec presiding therein,--keeping this [Page 18] always in view, that, errors being removed, the purity itself of the Gospel be preserved in the Church; which (Gospel), before promised through the prophets in the holy Scriptures, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, first promulgated with His own mouth, and then commanded to be preached by His Apostles to every creature, as the fountain of all, both saving truth, and moral discipline; and seeing clearly that this truth and discipline are contained in the written books, and the unwritten traditions which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Ghost dictating, have come down even unto us, transmitted as it were from hand to hand; (the Synod) following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, receives and venerates with an equal affection of piety, and reverence, all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament--seeing that one God is the author of both --as also the said traditions, as well those appertaining to faith as to morals, as having been dictated, either by Christ's own word of mouth, or by the Holy Ghost, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession. And it has thought it meet that a list of the sacred books be inserted in this decree, lest a doubt may arise in any one's mind, which are the books that are received by this Synod. They are as set down here below: of the Old Testament: the five books of Moses, to wit, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Josue, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two of Paralipomenon, the first book of Esdras, and the second which is entitled Nehemias; Tobias, Judith, Esther, Job, the Davidical Psalter, consisting of a hundred and fifty psalms; the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Canticle of Canticles, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaias, Jeremias, with Baruch; Ezechiel, Daniel; the twelve minor prophets, to wit, Osee, Joel, Amos, Abdias, Jonas, Micheas, Nahum, Habacuc, Sophonias, Aggaeus, Zacharias, Malachias; two books of the Machabees, the first and the second. Of the New Testament: the four Gospels, according [Page 19] to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles written by Luke the Evangelist; fourteen epistles of Paul the apostle, (one) to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, (one) to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, (one) to Titus, to Philemon, to the Hebrews; two of Peter the apostle, three of John the apostle, one of the apostle James, one of Jude the apostle, and the Apocalypse of John the apostle. But if any one receive not, as sacred and canonical, the said books entire with all their parts, as they have been used to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin vulgate edition; and knowingly and deliberately contemn the traditions aforesaid; let him be anathema. Let all, therefore, understand, in what order, and in what manner, the said Synod, after having laid the foundation of the Confession of faith, will proceed, and what testimonies and authorities it will mainly use in confirming dogmas, and in restoring morals in the Church.


Moreover, the same sacred and holy Synod,--considering that no small utility may accrue to the Church of God, if it be made known which out of all the Latin editions, now in circulation, of the sacred books, is to be held as authentic,--ordains and declares, that the said old and vulgate edition, which, by the lengthened usage of so many years, has been approved of in the Church, be, in public lectures, disputations, sermons and expositions, held as authentic; and that no one is to dare, or presume to reject it under any pretext whatever.

Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, It decrees, that no one, relying on his own skill, shall,--in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, --wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church,--whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures,--hath held and doth hold; [Page 20] or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers; even though such interpretations were never (intended) to be at any time published. Contraveners shall be made known by their Ordinaries, and be punished with the penalties by law established.

And wishing, as is just, to impose a restraint, in this matter, also on printers, who now without restraint,--thinking, that is, that whatsoever they please is allowed them,--print, without the license of ecclesiastical superiors, the said books of sacred Scripture, and the notes and comments upon them of all persons indifferently, with the press ofttimes unnamed, often even fictitious, and what is more grievous still, without the author's name; and also keep for indiscriminate sale books of this kind printed elsewhere; (this Synod) ordains and decrees, that, henceforth, the sacred Scripture, and especially the said old and vulgate edition, be printed in the most correct manner possible; and that it shall not be lawful for any one to print, or cause to be printed, any books whatever, on sacred matters, without the name of the author; nor to sell them in future, or even to keep them, unless they shall have been first examined, and approved of, by the Ordinary; under pain of the anathema and fine imposed in a canon of the last Council of Lateran: and, if they be Regulars, besides this examination and approval, they shall be bound to obtain a license also from their own superiors, who shall have examined the books according to the form of their own statutes. As to those who lend, or circulate them in manuscript, without their having been first examined, and approved of, they shall be subjected to the same penalties as printers: and they who shall have them in their possession or shall read them, shall, unless they discover the authors, be themselves regarded as the authors. And the said approbation of books of this kind shall be given in writing; and for this end it shall appear authentically at the beginning of the book, whether the book be written, or printed; and all this, that is, both the approbation and the examination, shall be done gratis, that so what ought to be approved, may be approved, and what ought to be condemned, may be condemned.

Besides the above, wishing to repress that temerity, by which the words and sentences of sacred Scripture are turned and [Page 21] twisted to all sorts of profane uses, to wit, to things scurrilous, fabulous, vain, to flatteries, detractions, superstitions, impious and diabolical incantations, sorceries, and defamatory libels; (the Synod) commands and enjoins, for the doing away with this kind of irreverence and contempt, and that no one may hence forth dare in any way to apply the words of sacred Scripture to these and such like purposes; that all men of this description, profaners and violators of the word of God, be by the bishops restrained by the penalties of law, and others of their own appointment.


Likewise, this sacred and holy Synod resolves and decrees, that the next ensuing Session be held and celebrated on the Thursday after the next most sacred festival of Pentecost.

[Page 21]


Celebrated on the seventeenth day of the month of June, in the year MDXLVI.

That our Catholic faith, without which it is impossible to please God, may, errors being purged away, continue in its own perfect and spotless integrity, and that the Christian people may not be carried about with every wind of doctrine; whereas that old serpent, the perpetual enemy of mankind, amongst the very many evils with which the Church of God is in these our times troubled, has also stirred up not only new, but even old, dissensions touching original sin, and the remedy thereof; the sacred and holy, ecumenical and general Synod of Trent,--lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the three same legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein,--wishing now to come to the reclaiming of the erring, and the confirming of the wavering,--following the testimonies of the sacred [Page 22] Scriptures, of the holy Fathers, of the most approved councils, and the judgment and consent of the Church itself, ordains, confesses, and declares these things touching the said original sin:

1. If any one does not confess that the first man, Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God in Paradise, immediately lost the holiness and justice wherein he had been constituted; and that he incurred, through the offence of that prevarication, the wrath and indignation of God, and consequently death, with which God had previously threatened him, and, together with death, captivity under his power who thenceforth had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil, and that the entire Adam, through that offence of prevarication, was changed, in body and soul, for the worse; let him be anathema.

2. If any one asserts, that the prevarication of Adam injured himself alone, and not his posterity; and that the holiness and justice, received of God, which he lost, he lost for himself alone, and not for us also; or that he, being defiled by the sin of disobedience, has only transfused death, and pains of the body, into the whole human race, but not sin also, which is the death of the soul; let him be anathema:--whereas he contradicts the apostle who says; By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.

3. If any one asserts, that this sin of Adam,--which in its origin is one, and being transfused into all by propogation, not by imitation, is in each one as his own, --is taken away either by the powers of human nature, or by any other remedy than the merit of the one mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath reconciled us to God in his own blood, made unto us justice, santification, and redemption; or if he denies that the said merit of Jesus Christ is applied, both to adults and to infants, by the sacrament of baptism rightly administered in the form of the church; let him be anathema: For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be [Page 23] saved. Whence that voice; Behold the lamb of God behold him who taketh away the sins of the world; and that other; As many as have been baptized, have put on Christ.

4. If any one denies, that infants, newly born from their mothers' wombs, even though they be sprung from baptized parents, are to be baptized; or says that they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that they derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which has need of being expiated by the laver of regeneration for the obtaining life everlasting,--whence it follows as a consequence, that in them the form of baptism, for the remission of sins, is understood to be not true, but false, --let him be anathema. For that which the apostle has said, By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men in whom all have sinned, is not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere hath always understood it. For, by reason of this rule of faith, from a tradition of the apostles, even infants, who could not as yet commit any sin of themselves, are for this cause truly baptized for the remission of sins, that in them that may be cleansed away by regeneration, which they have contracted by generation. For, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

5. If any one denies, that, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted; or even asserts that the whole of that which has the true and proper nature of sin is not taken away; but says that it is only rased, or not imputed; let him be anathema. For, in those who are born again, there is nothing that God hates; because, There is no condemnation to those who are truly buried together with Christ by baptism into death; who walk not according to the flesh, but, putting off the old man, and putting on the new who is created according to God, are made inno-[Page 24]cent, immaculate, pure, harmless, and beloved of God, heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ; so that there is nothing whatever to retard their entrance into heaven. But this holy synod confesses and is sensible, that in the baptized there remains concupiscence, or an incentive (to sin); which, whereas it is left for our exercise, cannot injure those who consent not, but resist manfully by the grace of Jesus Christ; yea, he who shall have striven lawfully shall be crowned. This concupiscence, which the apostle sometimes calls sin, the holy Synod declares that the Catholic Church has never understood it to be called sin, as being truly and properly sin in those born again, but because it is of sin, and inclines to sin.

This same holy Synod doth nevertheless declare, that it is not its intention to include in this decree, where original sin is treated of, the blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary, the mother of God; but that the constitutions of Pope Sixtus IV., of happy memory, are to be observed, under the pains contained in the said constitutions, which it renews.


On the Institution of a Lectureship of Sacred Scripture, and of the liberal arts.

The same sacred and holy Synod, adhering to the pious constitutions of the Sovereign Pontiffs, and of approved councils, and embracing and adding to them; that the heavenly treasure of the sacred books, which the Holy Ghost has with the greatest liberality delivered unto men, may not lie neglected, hath or-[Page 25]dained and decreed, that,--in those churches where there is found to be a prebend, prestimony, or other stipend under whatsoever name, destined for lecturers in sacred theology,--the bishops, archbishops, primates, and other Ordinaries of those places shall force and compel, even by the substraction of the fruits, those who hold such prebend, prestimony, or stipend, to expound and interpret the said sacred Scripture, either personally, if they be competent, or otherwise by a competent substitute, to be chosen by the said bishops, archbishops, primates, and other Ordinaries of those places. But, for the future, let not such prebend, prestimony, or stipend be bestowed save on competent persons, and those who can themselves discharge that office; and otherwise let the provision made be null and void.

But in metropolitan, or cathedral churches, if the city be distinguished and populous,--and also in collegiate churches which are in any large town, even though they may not belong to any diocese, provided the clergy be numerous there,--wherein there is no such prebend, prestimony, or stipend set aside for this purpose, let the first prebend that shall become vacant in any way soever, except by resignation, and to which some other incompatible duty is not attached, be understood to be ipso facto set apart and devoted to that purpose for ever. And in case that in the said churches there should not be any, or not any sufficient, prebend, let the metropolitan, or the bishop himself, by assigning thereunto the fruits of some simple benefice,--the obligations thereto belonging being nevertheless discharged,--or by the contributions of the beneficiaries of his city and diocese, or otherwise, as may be most convenient, provide in such wise, with the advice of his chapter, as that the said lecture of sacred Scripture be had; yet so that whatsoever other lectures there may be, whether established by custom, or in any other way, be not by any means therefore omitted.

As to churches, whose annual revenues are slight, and where the number of the clergy and laity is so small, that a lectureship of Theology cannot be conveniently had therein, let them at least have a master--to be chosen by the bishop, with the advice of the chapter--to teach grammar gratuitously to clerics, and other poor scholars, that so they may afterwards, with God's blessing, [Page 26] pass on to the said study of sacred Scripture. And for this end, either let the fruits of some simple benefice be assigned to that master of grammar,--which fruits he shall receive so long as he continues teaching, provided however, that the said benefice be not deprived of the duty due to it,--or let some suitable remuneration be paid him out of the episcopal or capitular revenue; or in fine let the bishop himself devise some other method suited to his church and diocese; that so this pious, useful, and profitable provision may not be, under any colourable pretext whatever, neglected.

In the monasteries also of monks, let there be in like manner a lecture on sacred Scripture, where this can be conveniently done: wherein of the abbots be negligent, let the bishops of the places, as the delegates herein of the Apostolic See, compel them thereto by suitable remedies. And in the convents of other Regulars, in which studies can conveniently flourish, let there be in like manner a lectureship of sacred Scripture; which lectureship shall be assigned, by the general or provincial chapters, to the more able masters.

In the public colleges also, wherein a lectureship so honourable, and the most necessary of all, has not hitherto been instituted, let it be established by the piety and charity of the most religious princes and governments, for the defence and increase of the Catholic faith, and the preservation and propagation of sound doctrine; and where such lectureship, after being once instituted, has been neglected, let it be restored. And that impiety may not be disseminated under the semblance of piety, the same holy Synod ordains, that no one be admitted to this office of lecturing, whether in public or in private, without having been previously examined and approved of by the bishop of the place, as to his life, conversation, and knowledge: which however is not to be understood of lecturers in convents of monks. Furthermore, those who are teaching the said sacred Scripture, as long as they teach publicly in the schools, as also the scholars who are studying in those schools, shall fully enjoy [Page 27] and possess, though absent, all the privileges accorded by common law, as regards the reception of the fruits of their prebends and benefices.

On Preachers of the word of God, and on Questors of alms.

But seeing that the preaching of the Gospel is no less necessary to the Christian commonwealth than the reading thereof; and whereas this is the principal duty of bishops; the same holy Synod hath resolved and decreed, that all bishops, archbishops, primates, and all other prelates of the churches be bound personally--if they be not lawfully hindered--to preach the holy Gospel of Jesus Christ. But if it should happen that bishops, and the others aforesaid, be hindered by any lawful impediment, they shall be bound, in accordance with the form prescribed by the general Council (of Lateran), to appoint fit persons to discharge wholesomely this office of preaching. But if any one through contempt do not execute this, let him be subjected to rigorous punishment.

Archpriests, curates, and all those who in any manner soever hold any parochial, or other, churches, which have the cure of souls, shall, at least on the Lord's days, and solemn feasts, either personally, or if they be lawfully hindered, by others who are competent, feed the people committed to them, with wholesome words, according to their own capacity, and that of their people; by teaching them the things which it is necessary for all to knew unto salvation, and by announcing to them with briefness and plainness of discourse, the vices which they must avoid, and the virtues which they must follow after, that they may escape everlasting punishment, and obtain the glory of heaven. And if any one of the above neglect to discharge this duty,--even though he may plead, on whatsoever ground, that he [Page 28] is exempt from the jurisdiction of the bishop, and even though the churches may be, in whatsoever way, said to be exempted, or haply annexed or united to a monastery that is even out of the diocese,--let not the watchful pastoral solicitude of the bishops be wanting, provided those churches be really within their diocese; lest that word be fulfilled; The little ones have asked for bread, and there was none to break it unto them. Wherefore, if, after having been admonished by the bishop, they shall neglect this their duty for the space of three months, let them be compelled by ecclesiastical censures, or otherwise, at the discretion of the said bishop; in such wise that even-if this seem to him expedient-a fair remuneration be paid, out of the fruits of the benefices, to some other person to discharge that office, until the principal himself repenting shall fulfil his own duty.

But should there be found to be any parochial churches, subject to monasteries which are not in any diocese, if the abbots and Regular prelates be negligent in the matters aforesaid, let them be compelled thereto by the metropolitans, in whose provinces the said dioceses are situated, as the delegate for that end of the Apostolic See; nor let custom, or exemption, or appeal, or reclamation, or action of recovery be of effect to impede the execution of this decree; until by a competent judge,--who shall proceed summarily, and examine only into the truth of the (matter of) fact,--the case shall have been taken cognizance of, and decided.

Regulars, of whatsoever order they may be, may not preach even in the churches of their own orders, unless they have been examined and approved of as regards their life, manners, and knowledge, by their own superiors, and with his license; with which license they shall be bound to present themselves personally before the bishops, and beg a blessing from them, before they begin to preach. But, (to preach) in churches which are not those of their own orders, besides the license of their own superiors they shall be obliged to have also the license of the bishop, without which they may not on any account preach in the said churches which belong not to their own orders: but bishops shall grant [Page 29] the said license gratuitously.

But if, which God forbid, a preacher should spread errors, or scandals, amongst the people, let the bishop interdict his preaching, even though he preach in a monastery of his own, or of another, order: whereas, if he preach heresies, let him proceed against him according to the appointment of the law, or the custom of the place, even though the said preacher should plead that he is exempted by a general, or special, privilege: in which case the bishop shall proceed by apostolic authority, and as the delegate of the Apostolic See. But let bishops be careful, that a preacher be not annoyed, either by false accusations, or in any other way calumniously; or have any just cause of complaint against them.

Furthermore, let bishops be on their guard not to permit any one,--whether of those, who, being Regulars in name, live nevertheless out of their monasteries, and the obedience of their religious institute, or secular priests, unless they be known to them, and are of approved morals and doctrine,--to preach in their own city, and diocese, even under the pretext of any privilege whatsoever; until the holy Apostolic See has been consulted by the said bishops thereon; from which See it is not likely that unworthy persons can extort any such privileges, except by suppressing the truth, or by uttering what is false.

Those who quest for alms--who are also commonly called Questors-of whatsoever condition they may be, shall not in any way presume, either personally, or by another, to preach; and Contraveners shall, any privileges notwithstanding, be wholly restrained by suitable remedies, by the bishop and Ordinaries of the places.


The sacred and holy Synod also ordains and decrees, that the first ensuing Session be held and celebrated on the Thursday after the feast of the blessed apostle James.

The Session was afterwards prorogued to the thirteenth of January, MDXLVII.

[Page 30]


Celebrated on the thirteenth day of the month of January, 1547.



Whereas there is, at this time, not without the shipwreck of many souls, and grievous detriment to the unity of the Church, a certain erroneous doctrine disseminated touching Justification; the sacred and holy, oecumenical and general Synod of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost,--the most reverend lords, Giammaria del Monte, bishop of Palaestrina, and Marcellus of the title of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, priest, cardinals of the holy Roman Church, and legates apostolic a latere, presiding therein, in the name of our most holy father and lord in Christ, Paul III., by the providence of God, Pope,-purposes, unto the praise and glory of Almighty God, the tranquillising of the Church, and the salvation of souls, to expound to all the faithful of Christ the true and sound doctrine touching the said Justification; which (doctrine) the sun of justice, Christ Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, taught, which the apostles transmitted, and which the Catholic Church, the Holy Ghost reminding her thereof, has always retained; most strictly forbidding that any henceforth presume to believe, preach, or teach, otherwise than as by this present decree is defined and declared.

On the Inability of Nature and of the Law to justify man.

The holy Synod declares first, that, for the correct and sound understanding of the doctrine of Justification, it is necessary [Page 31] that each one recognise and confess, that, whereas all men had lost their innocence in the prevarication of Adam-having become unclean, and, as the apostle says, by nature children of wrath, as (this Synod) has set forth in the decree on original sin,-they were so far the servants of sin, and under the power of the devil and of death, that not the Gentiles only by the force of nature, but not even the Jews by the very letter itself of the law of Moses, were able to be liberated, or to arise, therefrom; although free will, attenuated as it was in its powers, and bent down, was by no means extinguished in them.

On the dispensation and mystery of Christ's advent.

Whence it came to pass, that the heavenly Father, the father of mercies and the God of all comfort, when that blessed fulness of the time was come, sent unto men, Jesus Christ, His own Son-who had been, both before the Law, and during the time of the Law, to many of the holy fathers announced and promised-that He might both redeem the Jews who were under the Law, and that the Gentiles, who followed not after justice, might attain to justice, and that all men might receive the adoption of sons. Him God hath proposed as a propitiator, through faith in his blood, for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world.

Who are justified through Christ.

But, though He died for all, yet do not all receive the benefit of His [Page 32] death, but those only unto whom the merit of His passion is communicated. For as in truth men, if they were not born propagated of the seed of Adam, would not be born unjust,-seeing that, by that propagation, they contract through him, when they are conceived, injustice as their own,-so, if they were not born again in Christ, they never would be justified; seeing that, in that new birth, there is bestowed upon them, through the merit of His passion, the grace whereby they are made just. For this benefit the apostle exhorts us, evermore to give thanks to the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light, and hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption, and remission of sins.

A description is introduced of the Justification of the impious, and of the Manner thereof under the law of grace.

By which words, a description of the Justification of the impious is indicated,-as being a translation, from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Saviour. And this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.

On the necessity, in adults, of preparation for Justification, and whence it proceeds.

The Synod furthermore declares, that in adults, the beginning of the said Justification is to be derived from the prevenient [Page 33] grace of God, through Jesus Christ, that is to say, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits existing on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated from God, may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace: in such sort that, while God touches the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, neither is man himself utterly without doing anything while he receives that inspiration, forasmuch as he is also able to reject it; yet is he not able, by his own free will, without the grace of God, to move himself unto justice in His sight. Whence, when it is said in the sacred writings: Turn ye to me, and I will turn to you, we are admonished of our liberty; and when we answer; Convert us, O Lord, to thee, and we shall be converted, we confess that we are prevented by the grace of God.

The manner of Preparation.

Now they (adults) are disposed unto the said justice, when, excited and assisted by divine grace, conceiving faith by hearing, they are freely moved towards God, believing those things to be true which God has revealed and promised,-and this especially, that God justifies the impious by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; and when, understanding themselves to be sinners, they, by turning themselves, from the fear of divine justice whereby they are profitably agitated, to consider the mercy of God, are raised unto hope, confiding that God will be propitious to them for Christ's sake; and they begin to love Him as the fountain of all justice; and are therefore moved against sins by a certain hatred and detestation, to wit, by that penitence which must be performed before baptism: lastly, when they purpose to receive baptism, [Page 34] to begin a new life, and to keep the commandments of God. Concerning this disposition it is written; He that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him; and, Be of good faith, son, thy sins are forgiven thee; and, The fear of the Lord driveth out sin; and, Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; and, Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; finally, Prepare your hearts unto the Lord.

What the justification of the impious is, and what are the causes thereof.

This disposition, or preparation, is followed by Justification itself, which is not remission of sins merely, but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man, through the voluntary reception of the grace, and of the gifts, whereby man of unjust becomes just, and of an enemy a friend, that so he may be an heir according to hope of life everlasting.

Of this Justification the causes are these: the final cause indeed is the glory of God and of Jesus Christ, and life everlasting; while the efficient cause is a merciful God who washes and sanctifies gratuitously, signing, and anointing with the holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance; but the meritorious cause is His most beloved only-begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were enemies, for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, merited Justification for us by His most holy Passion on the wood of the cross, and made satisfaction for us unto God the Father; the instru-[Page 35]mental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith, without which (faith) no man was ever justified; lastly, the alone formal cause is the justice of God, not that whereby He Himself is just, but that whereby He maketh us just, that, to wit, with which we being endowed by Him, are renewed in the spirit of our mind, and we are not only reputed, but are truly called, and are, just, receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the Holy Ghost distributes to every one as He wills, and according to each one's proper disposition and co-operation. For, although no one can be just, but he to whom the merits of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet is this done in the said justification of the impious, when by the merit of that same most holy Passion, the charity of God is poured forth, by the Holy Spirit, in the hearts of those that are justified, and is inherent therein: whence, man, through Jesus Christ, in whom he is ingrafted, receives, in the said justification, together with the remission of sins, all these (gifts) infused at once, faith, hope, and charity. For faith, unless hope and charity be added thereto, neither unites man perfectly with Christ, nor makes him a living member of His body. For which reason it is most truly said, that Faith without works is dead and profitless; and, In Christ Jesus neither circumcision, availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by charity. This faith, Catechumen's beg of the Church-agreeably to a tradition of the apostles-previously to the sacrament of Baptism; when they beg for the faith which bestows life everlasting, which, without hope and charity, faith cannot bestow: whence also do they immediately hear that word of Christ; If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. Wherefore, when receiving true and Christian justice, they are bidden, immediately on being born again, to preserve it pure and spotless, as the first robe given them through Jesus Christ in lieu of that which [Page 36] Adam, by his disobedience, lost for himself and for us, that so they may bear it before the judgment-seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, and may have life everlasting.

In what manner it is to be understood, that the impious is justified by faith, and gratuitously.

And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace.

Against the vain confidence of Heretics.

But, although it is necessary to believe that sins neither are remitted, nor ever were remitted save gratuitously by the mercy of God for Christ's sake; yet is it not to be said, that sins are forgiven, or have been forgiven, to any one who boasts of his confidence and certainty of the remission of his sins, and rests on that alone; seeing that it may exist, yea does in our day exist, amongst heretics and schismatics; and with great vehemence is this vain confidence, and one alien from all godliness, preached up in opposition to the Catholic Church. But neither [Page 37] is this to be asserted,-that they who are truly justified must needs, without any doubting whatever, settle within themselves that they are justified, and that no one is absolved from sins and justified, but he that believes for certain that he is absolved and justified; and that absolution and justification are effected by this faith alone: as though whoso has not this belief, doubts of the promises of God, and of the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Christ. For even as no pious person ought to doubt of the mercy of God, of the merit of Christ, and of the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments, even so each one, when he regards himself, and his own weakness and indisposition, may have fear and apprehension touching his own grace; seeing that no one can know with a certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God.

On the increase of Justification received.

Having, therefore, been thus justified, and made the friends and domestics of God, advancing from virtue to virtue, they are renewed, as the Apostle says, day by day; that is, by mortifying the members of their own flesh, and by presenting them as instruments of justice unto sanctification, they, through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith co-operating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ, and are still further justified, as it is written; He that is just, let him be justified still; and again, Be not afraid to be justified even to death; and also, Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. And this increase of justification holy Church begs, when she prays, "Give unto us, O Lord, increase of faith, hope, and charity."

[Page 38] CHAPTER XI.
On keeping the Commandments, and on the necessity and possibility thereof.

But no one, how much soever justified, ought to think himself exempt from the observance of the commandments; no one ought to make use of that rash saying, one prohibited by the Fathers under an anathema,-that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified. For God commands not impossibilities, but, by commanding, both admonishes thee to do what thou are able, and to pray for what thou art not able (to do), and aids thee that thou mayest be able; whose commandments are not heavy; whose yoke is sweet and whose burthen light. For, whoso are the sons of God, love Christ; but they who love him, keep his commandments, as Himself testifies; which, assuredly, with the divine help, they can do. For, although, during this mortal life, men, how holy and just soever, at times fall into at least light and daily sins, which are also called venial, not therefore do they cease to be just. For that cry of the just, Forgive us our trespasses, is both humble and true. And for this cause, the just themselves ought to feel themselves the more obligated to walk in the way of justice, in that, being already freed from sins, but made servants of God, they are able, living soberly, justly, and godly, to proceed onwards through Jesus Christ, by whom they have had access unto this grace. For God forsakes not those who have been once justified by His grace, unless he be first forsaken by them. Wherefore, no one ought to flatter himself up with faith alone, fancying that by faith alone he is made an heir, and will obtain the inheritance, even though he suffer not with Christ, that so he may be also glori-[Page 39]fied with him. For even Christ Himself, as the Apostle saith, Whereas he was the son of God, learned obedience by the things which he suffered, and being consummated, he became, to all who obey him, the cause of eternal salvation. For which cause the same Apostle admonishes the justified, saying; Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air, but I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection; lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a cast-away. So also the prince of the apostles, Peter; Labour the more that by good works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing those things, you shall not sin at any time. From which it is plain, that those are opposed to the orthodox doctrine of religion, who assert that the just man sins, venially at least, in every good work; or, which is yet more insupportable, that he merits eternal punishments; as also those who state, that the just sin in all their works, if, in those works, they, together with this aim principally that God may be gloried, have in view also the eternal reward, in order to excite their sloth, and to encourage themselves to run in the course: whereas it is written, I have inclined my heart to do all thy justifications for the reward: and, concerning Moses, the Apostle saith, that he looked unto the reward.

That a rash presumptuousness in the matter of Predestination is to be avoided.

No one, moreover, so long as he is in this mortal life, ought so far to presume as regards the secret mystery of divine predestination, as to determine for certain that he is assuredly in [Page 40] the number of the predestinate; as if it were true, that he that is justified, either cannot sin any more, or, if he do sin, that he ought to promise himself an assured repentance; for except by special revelation, it cannot be known whom God hath chosen unto Himself.

On the gift of Perseverance.

So also as regards the gift of perseverance, of which it is written, He that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved:-which gift cannot be derived from any other but Him, who is able to establish him who standeth that he stand perseveringly, and to restore him who falleth:-let no one herein promise himself any thing as certain with an absolute certainty; though all ought to place and repose a most firm hope in God's help. For God, unless men be themselves wanting to His grace, as he has begun the good work, so will he perfect it, working (in them) to will and to accomplish. Nevertheless, let those who think themselves to stand, take heed lest they fall, and, with fear and trembling work out their salvation, in labours, in watchings, in almsdeeds, in prayers and oblations, in fastings and chastity: for, knowing that they are born again unto a hope of glory, but not as yet unto glory, they ought to fear for the combat which yet remains with the flesh, with the world, with the devil, wherein they cannot be victorious, unless they be with God's grace, obedient to the Apostle, who says; We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh; for if you live according to the flesh, you shall die; but if by the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.

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On the fallen, and their restoration.

As regards those who, by sin, have fallen from the received grace of Justification, they may be again justified, when, God exciting them, through the sacrament of Penance they shall have attained to the recovery, by the merit of Christ, of the grace lost: for this manner of Justification is of the fallen the reparation: which the holy Fathers have aptly called a second plank after the shipwreck of grace lost. For, on behalf of those who fall into sins after baptism, Christ Jesus instituted the sacrament of Penance, when He said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost, whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. Whence it is to be taught, that the penitence of a Christian, after his fall, is very different from that at (his) baptism; and that therein are included not only a cessation from sins, and a detestation thereof, or, a contrite and humble heart, but also the sacramental confession of the said sins,-at least in desire, and to be made in its season,-and sacerdotal absolution; and likewise satisfaction by fasts, alms, prayers, and the other pious exercises of a spiritual life; not indeed for the eternal punishment,-which is, together with the guilt, remitted, either by the sacrament, or by the desire of the sacrament,-but for the temporal punishment, which, as the sacred writings teach, is not always wholly remitted, as is done in baptism, to those who, ungrateful to the grace of God which they have received, have grieved the Holy Spirit, and have not feared to violate the temple of God. Concerning which penitence it is written; Be mindful whence thou art fallen; do penance, and do the first works. And again; The sorrow that is according to [Page 42] God worketh penance steadfast unto salvation. And again; Do penance, and bring forth fruits worthy of penance.

That, by every mortal sin, grace is lost, but not faith.

In opposition also to the subtle wits of certain men, who, by pleasing speeches and good words, seduce the hearts of the innocent, it is to be maintained, that the received grace of Justification is lost, not only by infidelity whereby even faith itself is lost, but also by any other mortal sin whatever, though faith be not lost; thus defending the doctrine of the divine law, which excludes from the kingdom of God not only the unbelieving, but the faithful also (who are) fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, liers with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, railers, extortioners, and all others who commit deadly sins; from which, with the help of divine grace, they can refrain, and on account of which they are separated from the grace of Christ.

On the fruit of Justification, that is, on the merit of good works, and on the nature of that merit.

Before men, therefore, who have been justified in this manner,-whether they have preserved uninterruptedly the grace received, or whether they have recovered it when lost,-are to be set the words of the Apostle: Abound in every good work, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord; for God is not unjust, that he should forget your work, and the love which you have shown in his name; and, do not lose your confidence, which hath a great reward. And, for this cause, life eternal is to be proposed to those working well unto [Page 43] the end, and hoping in God, both as a grace mercifully promised to the sons of God through Jesus Christ, and as a reward which is according to the promise of God Himself, to be faithfully rendered to their good works and merits. For this is that crown of justice which the Apostle declared was, after his fight and course, laid up for him, to be rendered to him by the just judge, and not only to him, but also to all that love his coming. For, whereas Jesus Christ Himself continually infuses his virtue into the said justified,-as the head into the members, and the vine into the branches,-and this virtue always precedes and accompanies and follows their good works, which without it could not in any wise be pleasing and meritorious before God,-we must believe that nothing further is wanting to the justified, to prevent their being accounted to have, by those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life, and to have truly merited eternal life, to be obtained also in its (due) time, if so be, however, that they depart in grace: seeing that Christ, our Saviour, saith: If any one shall drink of the water that I will give him, he shall not thirst for ever; but it shall become in him a fountain of water springing up unto life everlasting. Thus, neither is our own justice established as our own as from ourselves; nor is the justice of God ignored or repudiated: for that justice which is called ours, because that we are justified from its being inherent in us, that same is (the justice) of God, because that it is infused into us of God, through the merit of Christ. Neither is this to be omitted,-that although, in the sacred writings, so much is attributed to good works, that Christ promises, that even he that shall give a drink of cold water to one of his least ones, shall not lose his reward; and the Apostle testifies that, That which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; nevertheless God forbid that a Christian should either trust or glory in himself, and not in the Lord, whose bounty towards all [Page 44] men is so great, that He will have the things which are His own gifts be their merits. And forasmuch as in many things we all offend, each one ought to have before his eyes, as well the severity and judgment, as the mercy and goodness (of God); neither ought any one to judge himself, even though he be not conscious to himself of anything; because the whole life of man is to be examined and judged, not by the judgment of man, but of God, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts, and then shall every man have praise from God, who, as it is written, will render to every man according to his works. After this Catholic doctrine on Justification, which whoso receiveth not faithfully and firmly cannot be justified, it hath seemed good to the holy Synod to subjoin these canons, that all may know not only what they ought to hold and follow, but also what to avoid and shun.


CANON I.-If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema.

CANON II.-If any one saith, that the grace of God, through Jesus Christ, is given only for this, that man may be able more easily to live justly, and to merit eternal life, as if, by free will without grace, he were able to do both, though hardly indeed and with difficulty; let him be anathema.

CANON III.-If any one saith, that without the prevenient inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and without his help, man can believe, hope, love, or be penitent as he ought, so as that the grace of Justification may be bestowed upon him; let him be anathema.

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CANON IV.-If any one saith, that man's free will moved and excited by God, by assenting to God exciting and calling, nowise co-operates towards disposing and preparing itself for obtaining the grace of Justification; that it cannot refuse its consent, if it would, but that, as something inanimate, it does nothing whatever and is merely passive; let him be anathema.

CANON V.-If any one saith, that, since Adam's sin, the free will of man is lost and extinguished; or, that it is a thing with only a name, yea a name without a reality, a figment, in fine, introduced into the Church by Satan; let him be anathema.

CANON VI.-If any one saith, that it is not in man's power to make his ways evil, but that the works that are evil God worketh as well as those that are good, not permissively only, but properly, and of Himself, in such wise that the treason of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of Paul; let him be anathema.

CANON VII.-If any one saith, that all works done before Justification, in whatsoever way they be done, are truly sins, or merit the hatred of God; or that the more earnestly one strives to dispose himself for grace, the more grievously he sins: let him be anathema.

CANON VIII.-If any one saith, that the fear of hell,-whereby, by grieving for our sins, we flee unto the mercy of God, or refrain from sinning,-is a sin, or makes sinners worse; let him be anathema.

CANON IX.-If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.

CANON X.-If any one saith, that men are just without the justice of Christ, whereby He merited for us to be justified; or that it is by that justice itself that they are formally just; let him be anathema.

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CANON XI.-If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema.

CANON XII.-If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema.

CANON XIII.-If any one saith, that it is necessary for every one, for the obtaining the remission of sins, that he believe for certain, and without any wavering arising from his own infirmity and disposition, that his sins are forgiven him; let him be anathema.

CANON XIV.-If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because that he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema.

CANON XV.-If any one saith, that a man, who is born again and justified, is bound of faith to believe that he is assuredly in the number of the predestinate; let him be anathema.

CANON XVI.-If any one saith, that he will for certain, of an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance unto the end,-unless he have learned this by special revelation; let him be anathema.

CANON XVII.-If any one saith, that the grace of Justification is only attained to by those who are predestined unto life; but that all others who are called, are called indeed, but receive not grace, as being, by the divine power, predestined unto evil; let him be anathema.

CANON XVIII.-If any one saith, that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep; let him be anathema.

[Page 47] CANON XIX.-If any one saith, that nothing besides faith is commanded in the Gospel; that other things are indifferent, neither commanded nor prohibited, but free; or, that the ten commandments nowise appertain to Christians; let him be anathema.

CANON XX.-If any one saith, that the man who is justified and how perfect soever, is not bound to observe the commandments of God and of the Church, but only to believe; as if indeed the Gospel were a bare and absolute promise of eternal life, without the condition of observing the commandments ; let him be anathema.

CANON XXI.-If any one saith, that Christ Jesus was given of God to men, as a redeemer in whom to trust, and not also as a legislator whom to obey; let him be anathema.

CANON XXII.-If any one saith, that the justified, either is able to persevere, without the special help of God, in the justice received; or that, with that help, he is not able; let him be anathema.

CANON XXIII.-lf any one saith, that a man once justified can sin no more, nor lose grace, and that therefore he that falls and sins was never truly justified; or, on the other hand, that he is able, during his whole life, to avoid all sins, even those that are venial,-except by a special privilege from God, as the Church holds in regard of the Blessed Virgin; let him be anathema.

CANON XXIV.-If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.

CANON XXV.-If any one saith, that, in every good work, the just sins venially at least, or-which is more intolerable still-mortally, and consequently deserves eternal punishments; and that for this cause only he is not damned, that God does not impute those works unto damnation; let him be anathema.

CANON XXVI.-If any one saith, that the just ought not, for their good works done in God, to expect and hope for an eternal recompense from God, through His mercy and the merit of Jesus Christ, if so be that they persevere to the end in well [Page 48] doing and in keeping the divine commandments; let him be anathema.

CANON XXVII.-If any one saith, that there is no mortal sin but that of infidelity; or, that grace once received is not lost by any other sin, however grievous and enormous, save by that of infidelity ; let him be anathema.

CANON XXVIII.-If any one saith, that, grace being lost through sin, faith also is always lost with it; or, that the faith which remains, though it be not a lively faith, is not a true faith; or, that he, who has faith without charity, is not a Chris taught; let him be anathema.

CANON XXIX.-If any one saith, that he, who has fallen after baptism, is not able by the grace of God to rise again; or, that he is able indeed to recover the justice which he has lost, but by faith alone without the sacrament of Penance, contrary to what the holy Roman and universal Church-instructed by Christ and his Apostles-has hitherto professed, observed, and taugh; let him be anathema.

CANON XXX.-If any one saith, that, after the grace of Justification has been received, to every penitent sinner the guilt is remitted, and the debt of eternal punishment is blotted out in such wise, that there remains not any debt of temporal punishment to be discharged either in this world, or in the next in Purgatory, before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened (to him); let him be anathema.

CANON XXXI.-If any one saith, that the justified sins when he performs good works with a view to an eternal recompense; let him be anathema.

CANON XXXII.-If any one saith, that the good works of one that is justified are in such manner the gifts of God, as that they are not also the good merits of him that is justified; or, that the said justified, by the good works which he performs through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose [Page 49] living member he is, does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life,-if so be, however, that he depart in grace,-and also an increase of glory; let him be anathema.

CANON XXXIII.-If any one saith,that,by the Catholic doctrine touching Justification, by this holy Synod inset forth in this present decree, the glory of God, or the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ are in any way derogated from, and not rather that the truth of our faith, and the glory in fine of God and of Jesus Christ are rendered (more) illustrious; let him be anathema.


It is meet that prelates reside in their own churches; if they act otherwise, the penalties of the ancient law are renewed against them, and fresh penalties decreed.

The same sacred and holy Synod,-the same legates of the Apostolic See presiding,-wishing to apply itself to restore ecclesiastical discipline, which is exceedingly relaxed, and to amend the depraved manners of the clergy and Christian people, has thought it fit to begin with those who preside over the greater churches; for the integrity of those who govern, is the safety of the governed. Trusting, therefore, that by the mercy of our Lord and God, and the provident vigilance of His own vicar on earth, it will surely for the future happen, that those who are most worthy,-and whose previous life, in every stage thereof, from their infancy to their riper years, having been laudably passed in the exercises of ecclesiastical discipline, bears testimony in their favour,-will be assumed unto the government of churches, in accordance with the venerable ordinances of the Fathers, for that it is a burthen whose weight would be formidable even unto angels: (the Synod) admonishes all those who, under whatsoever name and title, are set over any [Page 50] patriarchal, primatial, metropolitan, and cathedral churches, and hereby accounts all such admonished, that, taking heed to themselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed them to rule the Church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood, they be vigilant, as the Apostle enjoins, that they labour in all things, and fulfil their ministry: but let them know, that fulfil it they cannot, if like hirelings they abandon the flocks committed to them, and apply not themselves to the keeping of their own sheep, whose blood will be required at their hands, by the Supreme Judge; seeing that it is most certain that, if the wolf have devoured the sheep, the shepherd's excuse will not be admitted, that he knew not thereof.

And yet, for as much as some are to be found at this time, who-as is grievously to be lamented-forgetful even of their own salvation, and preferring earthly things to heavenly, and things human before divine, wander about in various courts, or, their fold forsaken, and the care of the sheep committed to them neglected, keep themselves occupied with the solicitudes of temporal affairs; it hath seemed good to the sacred and holy Synod to renew, as by virtue of the present decree It doth renew, the ancient canons promulgated against non-residents, which (canons) have, through the disorders of the times and of men, well nigh fallen into desuetude; and furthermore, in order to the more fixed residence of the same, and for the reforming of manners in the church, it hath seemed good to appoint and ordain in the manner following:-If any one, by whatsoever dignity, degree, and pre-eminence distinguished, shall, by remaining six months together out of his own diocese, all lawful impediment, or just and reasonable causes ceasing, be absent from a patriarchal, primatial, metropolitan, or cathedral church, under what title soever, cause, name, or right committed to him, he shall ipso jure incur the penalty of the forfeiture of a fourth part of one year's fruits, to be applied, by an ecclesiastical [Page 51] superior, to the fabric of the church and to the poor of the place. And if he continue absent in this way during six other months, he shall thereupon forfeit another fourth part of the fruits to be applied in like manner. But if the contumacy proceed yet further, the metropolitan shall, for the subjecting him to a severer censure of the sacred canons, be obliged to denounce his absent suffragan bishops, and the oldest resident suffragan bishop to denounce his absent metropolitan, to the Roman pontiff, either by letter or by messenger, within the space of three months, under the penalty, to be ipso facto incurred, of being interdicted from entering into the church; that he, by the authority of his own supreme See, may proceed against the said non-resident prelates, according as the greater or less contumacy of each may require, and provide the said churches with more useful pastors, as he shall know in the Lord to be salutary and expedient.

It is not lawful for any one who holds a benefice requiring personal residence to absent himself, save for a just cause to be approved of by the bishop, who even then shall, for the cure of souls, substitute a vicar in his stead, withdrawing a portion of the fruits.

Those inferior to bishops, who hold by title, or in commendam, any ecclesiastical benefices requiring personal residence whether by law or custom, shall be compelled, by their Ordinaries, to reside, by suitable legal remedies; as to them shall seem expedient for the good government of the churches and the advancement of the service of God, taking into account the character of the places and persons; and to no one shall any perpetual privileges, or indults, in favour of non-residence, or of receiving the fruits during absence, be of avail: temporary indulgences and dispensations, however, granted solely for true and reasonable causes, and which are to be legitimately proved before the Ordinary, shall remain in force; in which cases [Page 52] nevertheless, it shall be the office of bishops, as delegated in this matter by the Apostolic See, to provide that, by deputing competent vicars, and by assigning them a suitable portion of the fruits, the cure of souls be nowise neglected; no privilege or exemption whatever being of avail to any in this regard.

The excesses of Secular clerics and of Regulars who live out of their monasteries, shall be corrected by the Ordinary of the place.

The prelates of the churches shall apply themselves prudently and diligently to correct the excesses of their subjects; and no Secular cleric, under pretext of a personal privilege, or any Regular, living out of his monastery, shall, under pretext of a privilege of his order, be accounted, if he transgress, exempt from being visited, punished, and corrected, in accordance with the ordinances of the canons, by the Ordinary of the place, as being delegated hereunto by the Apostolic See.

Bishops and other greater prelates shall visit any churches whatsoever, as often as there shall be need; everything which might hinder this decree being abrogated.

The Chapters of cathedral, and of other greater, churches, and the members thereof, shall not be able,-by any exemptions, customs, judgments, oaths, concordates, which only bind the authors thereof and not also their successors,-to screen themselves from being capable of being, in accordance with the ordinances of the canons, visited, corrected, and amended, as often as shall be needful, even with apostolical authority, by their own bishops, and other greater prelates, by themselves alone, or with those whom they shall see fit to have accompany them.

[Page 53] CHAPTER V.
Bishops shall neither exercise any pontifical function, nor ordain, in another diocese.

It shall not be lawful for any bishop, under the plea of any privilege soever, to exercise pontifical functions in the diocese of another, save by the express permission of the Ordinary of the place, and in regard to those persons only who are subject to that same Ordinary: if the contrary shall have been done, the bishop shall be ipso facto suspended from the exercise of episcopal functions, and those so ordained (be similarly suspended) from the exercise of their orders.


Doth it please you, that the next ensuing Session be celebrated on Thursday, the fifth day after the first Sunday of the approaching Lent, which (Thursday) will be the third day of the month of March? They answered: It pleaseth us.

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Celebrated on the third day of the month of March, MDXLVII.



For the completion of the salutary doctrine on Justification, which was promulgated with the unanimous consent of the Fathers in the last preceding Session, it hath seemed suitable to treat of the most holy Sacraments of the Church, through which all true justice either begins, or being begun is increased, or being lost is repaired. With this view, in order to destroy the errors and to extirpate the heresies, which have appeared [Page 54] in these our days on the subject of the said most holy sacraments,-as well those which have been revived from the heresies condemned of old by our Fathers, as also those newly invented, and which are exceedingly prejudicial to the purity of the Catholic Church, and to the salvation of souls,-the sacred and holy, oecumenical and general Synod of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein, adhering to the doctrine of the holy Scriptures, to the apostolic traditions, and to the consent of other councils and of the Fathers, has thought fit that these present canons be established and decreed; intending, the divine Spirit aiding, to publish later the remaining canons which are wanting for the completion of the work which It has begun.


CANON I.-If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord; or, that they are more, or less, than seven, to wit, Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Order, and Matrimony; or even that any one of these seven is not truly and properly a sacrament; let him be anathema.

CANON II.-If any one saith, that these said sacraments of the New Law do not differ from the sacramnets of the Old Law, save that the ceremonies are different, and different the outward rites; let him be anathema.

CANON III.-If any one saith, that these seven sacraments are in such wise equal to each other, as that one is not in any way more worthy than another; let him be anathema.

CANON IV.-If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not ineed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema.

CANON V.-If any one saith, that these sacraments were instituted for the sake of nourishing faith alone; let him be anathema.

[Page 55] CANON VI.-If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law do not contain the grace which they signify; or, that they do not confer that grace on those who do not place an obstacle thereunto; as though they were merely outward signs of grace or justice received through faith, and certain marks of the Christian profession, whereby believers are distinguished amongst men from unbelievers; let him be anathema.

CANON VII.-If any one saith, that grace, as far as God's part is concerned, is not given through the said sacraments, always, and to all men, even though they receive them rightly, but (only) sometimes, and to some persons; let him be anathema.

CANON VIII.-If any one saith, that by the said sacraments of the New Law grace is not conferred through the act performed, but that faith alone in the divine promise suffices for the obtaining of grace; let him be anathema.

CANON IX.-If any one saith, that, in the three sacrments, Baptism, to wit, Confirmation, and Order, there is not imprinted in the soul a character, that is, a certain spiritual and indelible Sign, on account of which they cannot be repeated; let him be anathema.

CANON X.-If any one saith, that all Christians have power to administer the word, and all the sacraments; let him be anathema.

CANON XI.-If any one saith, that, in ministers, when they effect, and confer the sacraments, there is not required the intention at least of doing what the Church does; let him be anathema.

CANON XII.-If any one saith, that a minister, being in mortal sin,-if so be that he observe all the essentials which belong to the effecting, or conferring of, the sacrament,-neither effects, nor confers the sacrament; let him be anathema.

CANON XIII.-If any one saith, that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church, wont to be used in the solemn [Page 56] administration of the sacraments, may be contemned, or without sin be omitted at pleasure by the ministers, or be changed, by every pastor of the churches, into other new ones; let him be anathema.


CANON I.-If any one saith, that the baptism of John had the same force as the baptism of Christ; let him be anathema.

CANON II.-If any one saith, that true and natural water is not of necessity for baptism, and, on that account, wrests, to some sort of metaphor, those words of our Lord Jesus Christ; Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost; let him be anathema.

CANON III.-If any one saith, that in the Roman church, which is the mother and mistress of all churches, there is not the true doctrine concerning the sacrament of baptism; let him be anathema.

CANON IV.-If any one saith, that the baptism which is even given by heretics in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, with the intention of doing what the Church doth, is not true baptism; let him be anathema.

CANON V.-If any one saith, that baptism is free, that is, not necessary unto salvation; let him be anathema.

CANON VI.-If any one saith, that one who has been baptized cannot, even if he would, lose grace, let him sin ever so much, unless he will not believe; let him be anathema.

CANON VII.-If any one saith, that the baptized are, by baptism itself, made debtors but to faith alone, and not to the observance of the whole law of Christ; let him be anathema.

CANON VIII.-If any one saith, that the baptized are freed from all the precepts, whether written or transmitted, of holy Church, in such wise that they are not bound to observe them, unless they have chosen of their own accord to submit themselves thereunto; let him be anathema.

[Page 57] CANON IX.-If any one saith, that the resemblance of the baptism which they have received is so to be recalled unto men, as that they are to understand, that all vows made after baptism are void, in virtue of the promise already made in that baptism; as if, by those vows, they both derogated from that faith which they have professed, and from that baptism itself; let him be anathema.

CANON X.-If any one saith, that by the sole remembrance and the faith of the baptism which has been received, all sins committed after baptism are either remitted, or made venial; let him be anathema.

CANON XI.-If any one saith, that baptism, which was true and rightly conferred, is to be repeated, for him who has denied the faith of Christ amongst Infidels, when he is converted unto penitence; let him be anathema.

CANON XII.-If any one saith, that no one is to be baptized save at that age at which Christ was baptized, or in the very article of death; let him be anathema.

CANON XIII.-If any one saith, that little children, for that they have not actual faith, are not, after having received baptism, to be reckoned amongst the faithful; and that, for this cause, they are to be rebaptized when they have attained to years of discretion; or, that it is better that the baptism of such be omitted, than that, while not believing by their own act, they should be bapized in the faith alone of the Church; let him be anathema.

CANON XIV.-If any one saith, that those who have been thus baptized when children, are, when they have grown up, to be asked whether they will ratify what their sponsors promised in their names when they were baptized; and that, in case they answer that they will not, they are to be left to their own will; and are not to be compelled meanwhile to a Christian life by any other penalty, save that they be excluded from the participation of the Eucharist, and of the other sacraments, until they repent; let him be anathema.


CANON I.-If any one saith, that the confirmation of those who have been baptized is an idle ceremony, and not rather a true and proper sacrament; or that of old it was nothing more than a kind of catechism, whereby they who were near adolescence gave an account of their faith in the face of the Church; let him be anathema.

CANON II.-If any one saith, that they who ascribe any virtue to the sacred chrism of confirmation, offer an outrage to the Holy Ghost; let him be anathema.

CANON III.-If any one saith, that the ordinary minister of holy confirmation is not the bishop alone, but any simple priest soever; let him be anathema.


The same sacred and holy Synod, the same legates also presiding, purposing to prosecute, unto the praise of God, and the increase of the Christian religion, the work which It hath begun touching residence and reformation, has thought good to ordain as follows,-saving always, in all things, the authority of the Apostolic See.

Who is capable of governing Cathedral churches.

No one shall be assumed unto the government of Cathedral churches, but one that is born of lawful wedlock, is of mature age, and endowed with gravity of manners, and skill in letters, agreeably to the constitution of Alexander III., which begins, Cum in cunctis, promulgated in the Council of Lateran.

[Page 59] CHAPTER II.
The holders of several Cathedral churches are commanded to resign all but one, in a given manner and time.

No one, by whatsoever dignity, grade, or pre-eminence distinguished, shall presume, in contravention of the institutes of the sacred canons, to accept and to hold at the same time several Metropolitan, or Cathedral, churches, whether by title, or in commendam, or under any other name whatsoever; seeing that he is to be accounted exceedingly fortunate whose lot it is to rule one church well and fruitfully, and unto the salvation of the souls committed to him. But as to those who now hold several churches contrary to the tenor of the present decree, they shall be bound, retaining the one which they may prefer, to resign the rest, within six months if they are at the free disposal of the Apostolic See, in other cases within the year; otherwise those churches, the one last obtained only excepted, shall be from that moment deemed vacant.


Benefices shall be conferred solely on capable individuals.

Inferior Ecclesiastical Benefices, especially such as have the cure of souls, shall be conferred on persons worthy and capable, and who can reside on the spot and exercise personally the said cure; in accordance with the Constitution of Alexander IIl., in the Council of Lateran, which begins, Quia nonnulli; and that other of Gregory X., published in the General Council of Lyons, which begins, Licet Canon. A collation, or provision, made otherwise, shall be wholly annulled: and let the ordinary collator know, that he will himself incur the penalties set down in the Constitution of the General Council (of Lateran), which begins, Grave nimis.

[Page 60] CHAPTER IV.
The retainer of several Benefices contrary to the Canons, shall be deprived thereof.

Whosoever shall for the future presume to accept, or to retain at the same time several cures, or otherwise incompatible Ecclesiastical Benefices, whether by way of union for life, or in perpetual commendam, or under any other name or title whatsoever, in contravention of the appointment of the sacred Canons, and especially of the Constitution of Innocent III., beginning, De multa, shall be ipso jure deprived of the said benefices, according to the disposition of the said constitution, and also by virtue of the present Canon.


The holders of several Benefices with cure of souls shall exhibit their dispensations to the Ordinary, who shall provide the churches with a Vicar, assigning a suitable portion of the fruits.

The Ordinaries of the places shall strictly compel all those who hold several cures, or otherwise incompatible, Ecclesiastical Benefices to exhibit their dispensations; and they shall otherwise proceed according to the Constitution of Gregory X., published in the General Council of Lyons, beginning Ordinarii, which (Constitution) this holy Synod thinks ought to be renewed, and doth renew; adding further, that the said Ordinaries are by all means to provide, even by deputing fit vicars and by assigning a suitable portion of the fruits, that the cure of souls be not in any way neglected, and that the said benfices be nowise defrauded of the services due to them: no appeals, privileges, or exemptions whatsoever, even with a commission of special judges, and inhibitions from the same, being of avail to any one in the matters aforenamed.

[Page 61] CHAPTER VI.
What unions of Benefices shall be accounted valid.

Unions in perpetuity, made within forty years, may be examined into by the Ordinaries, as delegated by the Apostolic See, and such as shall have been obtained by surreption or obreption shall be declared null. Now those are to be presumed to have been surreptitiously obtained, which having been granted within the aforenamed period, have not as yet been carried into effect wholly, or in part, as also those which shall henceforth be made at the instance of any person soever, unless it shall be certain that they have been made for lawful, or otherwise reasonable causes, which are to be verified before the Ordinary of the place, those persons being summoned whose interests are concerned: and therefore (such unions) shall be altogether of no force, unless the Apostolic See shall have declared otherwise.

United Ecclesiastical Benefices shall be visited: the cure thereof shall be exercised even by perpetual vicars; who shall be deputed thereunto with a portion, to be assigned even upon a specific property.

Ecclesiastical Benefices with cures, which are found to have been always united and annexed to Cathedral, Collegiate, or other churches, or to monasteries, benefices, colleges, or other pious places of what sort soever, shall be visited every year by the Ordinaries of those places; who shall apply themselves sedulously to provide that the cure of souls be laudably exercised by competent vicars, and those even perpetual, unless the said Ordinaries shall deem it expedient for the good of the churches that it be otherwise,-which (vicars) shall be deputed thereunto by those Ordinaries, with a provision consisting of a third part of the fruits, or of a greater or less proportion, at the discretion [Page 62] of the said Ordinaries, which (portion) is to be assigned even upon a specific property; no appeals, privileges, exemptions, even with a commission of judges, and inhibitions from the same, being of any avail in the matters abovenamed.

Churches shall be repaired: the cure of souls sedulously discharged.

The Ordinaries of the places shall be bound to visit every year, with apostolic authority, all churches whatsoever, in whatsoever manner exempted; and to provide by suitable legal remedies that whatever needs repairs, be repaired; and that those churches be not in any way defrauded of the Cure of souls, if such be annexed thereunto, or of other services due to them;-all appeals, privileges, customs, even those that have a prescription from time immemorial, commission of judges, and inhibitions from the same, being utterly set aside.

The duty of consecration not to be delayed.

Those who have been promoted to the greater churches shall receive the rite of consecration within the time prescribed by law, and any delays granted, extending beyond the period of six months, shall be of no avail to any one.

When a See is vacant, Chapters shall not grant 'reverends' to any unless straitened because of a Benefice obtained, or about to be obtained: various penalties on contraveners.

It shall not be lawful for Chapters of churches, when a see is vacant, to grant,-whether by ordinance of common law, or by virtue of any privilege or custom whatsoever,-a license for [Page 63] ordination, or letters dimissory, or "reverend," as some call them, within a year from the day of that vacancy, to any one who is not straitened (for time), by occasion of some ecclesistical benefice received, or about to be received. Otherwise, the contravening Chapter shall be subjected to an ecclesiastical interdict; and the persons so ordained, if they have been constituted in minor orders, shall not enjoy any clerical privilege, especially in criminal causes; whilst those constituted in the greater orders shall be, ipso jure, suspended from the exercise thereof, during the pleasure of the next appointed prelate.

Faculties for promotion shall not avail any one without a just cause.

Faculties, for being promoted (to orders) by any prelate whatsoever, shall be of no avail but to those who have a lawful cause-which is to be expressed in their letters-why they cannot be ordained by their own bishops; and even then they shall not be ordained but by a bishop who is resident in his own diocese, or by him who exercises the pontifical functions for him, and after having undergone a previous careful examination.

Faculties for not being promoted shall not exceed a year.

Faculties granted for not being promoted (to orders) shall avail for a year only, except in the cases by law provided.

Individuals by whomsoever presented shall not be instituted without being previously examined and approved of by the Ordinary; with certain exceptions.

Persons presented, or elected, or nominated by any ecclesiastics soever, even by Nuncios of the Apostolic See, shall not be instituted, or confirmed in, or admitted to any ecclesiastical benefices whatsoever, even under the plea of any privilege soever, or custom, which may even have a prescription from time immemorial, unless they shall have been first examined, and found fit, by the Ordinaries of the places. And no one shall be able to screen himself, by means of an appeal, from being bound to undergo that examination. Those, however, are to be excepted, who are presented, elected, or nominated by universities, or by colleges for general studies.

The civil causes of exempted persons which may be taken cognizance of by bishops.

In the causes of exempted persons, the Constitution of Innocent IV., beginning Volentes, set forth in the general Council of Lyons, shall be observed,-which Constitution this sacred and holy Synod hath thought ought to be renewed, and doth hereby renew it; adding further, that, in civil causes relative to wages, and to persons in distress, clerics, whether Seculars, or Regulars who live out of their monasteries,-howsoever exempted, and even though they may have upon the spot a special judge deputed by the Apostolic See; and in other causes, if they have no such judge,-may be brought before the Ordinaries of the places, and be constrained and compelled by course of law to [Page 65] pay what they owe; no privileges, exemptions, commissions of conservators, and inhibitions therefrom, being of any force whatever in opposition to the (regulations) aforesaid.

Ordinaries shall take care that all manner of hospitals, even those exempted, be faithfully governed by their adminstrators.

The Ordinaries shall take care that all hospitals whatsoever be faithfully and diligently governed by their own administrators, by what names soever called, and in what way soever exempted: observing herein the form of the Constitution of the Council of Vienne, which begins, Quia contingit, which this holy Synod hath thought fit to renew, and doth hereby renew, together with the derogations therein contained.


This sacred and holy Synod hath also resolved and decreed that the next ensuing Session be held and celebrated on Thursday, the fifth day after the coming Sunday in Albis (Low Sunday), which will be the twenty-first of the month of April of the present year, MDXLVII.


Paul, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to our venerable brother Giammaria, bishop of Palaestrina, and to our beloved sons, Marcellus of the title of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, priest, and Reginald of Saint Mary in Cosmedin, deacon, cardinals, our Legates, a latere, and those of the Apostolic See, health and apostolical benediction.

We, by the providence of God, presiding over the government of the universal Church, though with merits unequal thereunto, account it a part of our office that, if anything of more than common moment have to be settled touching the Christian [Page 66] commonweal, it be done not only at a suitable season, but also in a convenient and fit place. Wherefore, whereas We lately, with the advice and consent of our venerable brethren the cardinals of the holy Roman Church,-upon hearing that peace had been made between our most dear sons in Christ, Charles the Emperor of the Romans, ever august, and Francis the most Christian King of the French,-took off and removed the suspension of the celebration of the sacred oecumenical and universal Council, which we had on another occasion, for reasons then stated, indicted with the advice and consent aforesaid, for the city of Trent, and which was, for certain other reasons at that time also named, suspended, upon the like advice and consent, unto another more opportune and suitable time to be declared by us: being ourselves unable, from being at that time lawfully hindered, to repair to the above-named city in person, and to be present at that Council, We, by the same advice, appointed and deputed you as Legates a latere on our behalf and that of the Apostolic See, in that Council; and we sent you unto that same city as angels of peace, as in divers our letters thereupon is more fully set forth: wishing to provide seasonably that so holy a work as the celebration of such a Council may not be hindered through the incommodiousness of the place, or otherwise in any other manner, We, of our proper motion, and certain knowledge, and the plenitude of apostolic authority, and with the advice and consent aforesaid, by the tenor of these presents do, with apostolic authority, concede to you all together, or to two of you, upon the other being detained by a lawful impediment, or maybe absent therefrom, full and unrestrained power and faculty, to transfer and change, when soever you shall see cause, the aforesaid Council from the city of Trent to any other more Convenient, suitable, or safe City, as to you shall seem fit, and to suppress and dissolve that which is held in the said city of Trent; as also to prohibit, even under ecclesiastical pains and censures, the prelates and other members of the said Council, from proceeding to any further measures therein in the said sity of Trent; and also to continue, hold, and celebrate the same Council in the other city as aforesaid unto which it shall have been transferred and changed, and [Page 67] to summon thereunto the prelates and other members of the said Council of Trent, even under the pain of perjury and of the other penalties named in the letters of Indiction of that Council; to preside and proceed, in the Council thus translated and changed, in the name and by the authority aforesaid, and to perform, regulate, ordain, and execute the other things mentioned above, and the things thereunto necessary and suitable in accordance with the contents and tenor of the previous letters which have been on other occasion addressed unto you: declaring that We will hold as ratified and pleasing whatsoever by you shall have been done, regulated, ordained, in the matters aforesaid, and will, with God's help, cause it to be inviolably observed; any apostolical Constitutions and ordinances, and other things whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding. Wherefore, let no one soever infringe this letter of our grant, or with rash daring go contrary thereto. But if any one shall presume to attempt this, let him know that he will incur the indignation of Almighty God, and of the blessed Peter and Paul, His apostles.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, in the year of the Lord's Incarnation MDXLVII, on the eighth of the calends of March, in the eleventh year of our Pontificate.


[Page 67]


Celebrated on the eleventh day of the month of March, in the year MDXLVII.


Doth it please you to decree and declare, that, from the foregoing statements and other allegations, a disease of the kind stated is so plainly and notoriously certain, that the prelates cannot without danger of their lives remain in this city, and that [Page 68] therefore they cannot and ought not to be detained therein against their wills? And considering moreover the withdrawal of many prelates since the Session last held, and the protests made in the general congregations by very many other prelates, who wish by all means to depart hence through fear of the said disease, who cannot justly be detained; and by whose departure the Council would either be dissolved, or, from the small number of the prelates, its beneficial progress be hindered; and considering also the imminent danger to life, and the other notoriously true and legitimate reasons alleged in the said congregations by certain of the Fathers; doth it please you, in like manner, to decree and declare, that, for the preservation and prosecution of the said Council, and for the safety of the lives of the said prelates, this Council be transferred for a time to the city of Bologna, as being a place better provided, more healthy, and fit, and that the translation have effect from this day forth, and that the Session, already indicted for the twentyfirst of April ought to be celebrated, and be celebrated, there on that appointed day; and that the further matters be proceeded with in order, until it shall seem expedient, to our most holy Lord and to the sacred Council, that the said Council may, and ought to, be brought back to this, or to some other place, taking council also thereupon with the most invincible Emperor, the most Christian king, and with the other Christian kings and princes? They answered: It pleaseth us.

[Page 68]


Celebrated at Bologna, on the twenty-first day of the month of April, MDXLVII.


This sacred and holy, ecumenical and general Synod, which lately was assembled in the city of Trent, and is now lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost at Bologna, the same most reverend Lords Giammaria del Monte, bishop of Palaestrina, and Marcellus, of the title of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, priest, [Page 69] cardinals of the holy Roman Church, and Legates apostolic a latere, presiding therein in the name of our most holy Father in Christ, and Lord, Paul III., by the providence of God, Pope; considering that, on the eleventh day of the month of March of the present year, in a general and public Session celebrated in the said city of Trent, in the usual place, all the formalities being observed in the usual manner; (the Synod) ,-for causes then pressing, urgent, and legitimate, and with the interposition also of the authority of the holy Apostolic See, specially also granted to the said most reverend Presidents,-decreed and ordained, that the Council was to be transferred, as it did transfer it, from that place to this city, and likewise that the Session,-indicted there for this twenty-first day of April, that Canons touching the matters of the Sacraments and of Reformation, whereon It had purposed to treat, might be established and promulgated,-ought to be celebrated in this city of Bologna; and considering that some of the Fathers who have been accustomed to be present at this Council,-being some engaged in their own Churches during these last days of the great week (of Lent), and of the Paschal solemnity, and some also detained by other hindrances, -have not as yet come hither, but who nevertheless, it is to be hoped, will shortly be present; and that, from this cause, it has happened that the said matters of the Sacraments and of Reformation could not be examined and discussed in an assembly of prelates as numerous as the holy Synod desired: wherefore, to the end that all things may be done with mature deliberation, with due dignity and gravity, (the Synod) hath resolved, and doth resolve, that it is good, opportunie, and expedient, that the aforenamed Session, which, as has been said, was to have been celebrated on this day, be deferred and prorogued, as it is now deferred and prorogued, to the Thursday within the approaching octave of Pentecost, for the expediting of the matters aforesaid; which day It has deemed, and deems, to be most opportune for the business to be transacted, and most convenient especially for the Fathers who are absent; adding however, that this holy Synod may and can, even in a private congregation, limit and abridge the said term, at Its will and pleasure, as It shall think expedient for the business of the Council.

[Page 70]


Celebrated at Bologna on the second day of the month of June, MDXLVII.


Although this sacred and holy, oecumenical and general Synod hath decreed, that the Session which was to have been celebrated, in this illustrious city of Bologna, on the twenty-first day of the month of April last, on the subject of the Sacraments and of Reformation, in accordance with the decree promulgated in public Session in the city of Trent, should be deferred and prorogued to this present day, for certain reasons, and especially on account of the absence of some of the Fathers, who it was hoped would in a short time be present; wishing, however, even yet to deal kindly with those who have not come, the same sacred and holy Synod, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same cardinals of the holy Roman Church, and Legates of the Apostolic See, presiding therein, resolves and decrees, that the said Session, which It had decreed to celebrate on this the second day of the month of June of this present year 1547, be deferred and prorogued, and It doth hereby defer and prorogue it, to the Thursday after the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which will be the fifteenth of September next; for the expediting of the aforesaid and other matters; yet so, however, that the prosecution of the discussion and examination, as well of those things which relate to dogmas, as of those which regard reformation, shall not meanwhile be suspended; and that the said holy Synod freely may and can, at Its will and pleasure, even in a private congregation, abridge or prorogue the said term.

On the fourteenth day of September, MDXLVII, in a general Congregation held at Bologna, the Session, which was to have been held on the following day, was prorogued during the good pleasure of the sacred Council.

[Page 71]


Julius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, for the future memory hereof.

Whereas, in order to remove the dissensions touching our religion, which for a long time have prevailed in Germany to the disturbance and scandal of the whole Christian world, it seems good, opportune, and expedient,-as also our most dearly beloved son in Christ, Charles the Emperor of the Romans, ever august, has caused to be signified to us by his letters and ambassadors,-to bring back to the city of Trent, the sacred, oecumenical, (and) general Council indicted by our predecessor, Pope Paul III., of happy memory, and begun, regulated, and continued, by Us, who then enjoyed the honour of the Cardinalate, and conjointly with two other Cardinals of the holy Roman Church, presided in the name of our said predecessor, in the said Council, wherein several public and solemn Sessions were held, and several decrees promulgated as well on the subject of faith as of Reformation, and also many things relating to both subjects examined and discussed;-We,-unto whom, as Sovereign Pontiff for the time, it appertains to indict and direct general Councils,-that we may, unto the praise and glory of Almighty God, procure the peace of the Church and the increase of the Christian faith and of the orthodox religion, and may, as far as in us lies, consult with fatherly care for the tranquillity of Germany,-a province indeed which, in times past, was never second to any in Christendom, in cultivating true religion, and the doctrine of the sacred Councils and holy Fathers, and in exhibiting due obedience and reverence to the chief Pontiffs, the vicars on earth of Christ our Redeemer; hoping that, by the grace and bounty of God, all Christian kings and princes will approve of, favour and aid our just and pious wishes herein: We, by the bowels of the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, exhort, require, and admonish our venerable brethren the patri-[Page 72]archs, archbishops, bishops, and our beloved sons the abbots, and all and each of the others, who of right, or custom, or privilege, ought to be present at General Councils, and whom our said predecessor, in his letters of indiction and any others soever made and published on this subject, willed to be present at the Council, to convene and assemble, where there is no lawful impediment, in the same city of Trent, and to apply themselves without any delay whatever to the continuation and prosecution of the said Council, on the next ensuing calends of May, which day we appoint, determine on, and assign, after mature deliberation, and of our own certain knowledge, and the plenitude of apostolic authority, and with the advice and consent of our venerable brethren the Cardinals of the said holy Roman Church, for resuming and prosecuting the said Council in the state wherein it now is. For We shall make it our special care, that, at the same time, in the said city, there be always present our Legates, through whom,-if we shall be unable, on account of our age, state of health, and the necessities of the Apostolic See, to be personally present,-we shall, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, preside over the said Council; any translation and suspension of the said Council, and any other things whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding, and especially those things which it was the will of our predecessor should not create any obstacle, as expressed in his letters aforesaid, which, with all and each of the clauses and decrees therein contained, we will and decree to continue in force, and we do, as far as there is need thereof, hereby renew them; declaring moreover null and void whatsoever may be attempted, wittingly or ignorantly, by whatsoever person, or by whatsoever authority, against these presents. Let no one, therefore, infringe this our letter of exhortation, requisition, monition, statute, declaration, renewal, will, and decree, or with rash daring go contrary thereunto. But if any one shall presume to attempt this, let him know that he will incur the indignation of Almighty God, and of His blessed apostles, Peter and Paul.

[Page 73]

Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, in the year MDXLVIII of our Lord's Incarnation, on the eighteenth of the calends of December, in the first year of our Pontificate.


Next: Part 2 of 3

Source: http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum01.htm

Source: http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum01.htm

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